Visiting a Sports Bar

Watching sports at home has its perks: you can lounge in pajamas, you can yell all you want and no one will judge you, you have a pillow to throw, you can sob or hide under a blanket when you need to, and you can kiss the TV or laptop screen when you are overcome with emotions (I can’t be the only who has had to wipe kiss marks from my screens, can I?). But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to be out in public with other people who are going through the same things as you are. My twitter timeline can only suffice for so long.

During the “big” games, I need to be around other fans. No matter what the outcome, I need to have someone going through the same kind of emotions. No one can quite understand you like other fans. That’s when going to a sports bar is a really good idea. Going to a sports bar for the first time might be a bit daunting, especially considering you’re a lady. Society tends to tell us that these places are not for women, but don’t be fooled, they are. I’ve enjoyed each and every time I have gone in to a sports bar.

How can you have a good experience when you want to watch your favorite team?

The first thing you need to do is find the right type of bar. As a football (soccer) fan that watches La Liga games, I can’t just walk into any sports bar and expect to find my team on the big screen. This is when the internet is a godsend. You can Google places that are showing your sport or even call up bars you are thinking of visiting and ask them if they show the games. Usually these bars have more than one television, so if you ask them to put your game on, they will. You can also try asking fan communities online for any recommendations. Chances are they know the best bars to go to with the best atmosphere.

OK, now that you know where you’re going, the next thing is what to wear? Since this isn’t a dancing kind of bar, just go with what you feel more comfortable. I suggest jeans, a cute top and comfortable footwear. These next couple of hours might be stressful ones for you, so why not wear something that will be comforting. You don’t want the added stress of clothing that you have to worry about. If you have a team jersey, wear it! Now is the perfect time to show off your colors. Trust me; you won’t be the only one wearing them. I’ve seen people wearing the team flag as a cape and I’ve never been so jealous. If you’re going to the bar alone, it’s a quick way for fellow fans to identify you and you might strike up a friendship. It’s also a great way for rival fans to identify you, but I’m sure your cries of misery or ecstasy will identify you more so. I myself like to wear my favorite player’s jersey and some good luck bracelets I’ve made. I also like to do my nails in coordinating colors. I like walking home from the bar and having people spot me in my jersey beaming with pride.

OK, you have your outfit ready so now you should plan when to get there. It really depends on the type of game you’re going to watch. If it’s a low risk game, chances are you might want to get there 30 minutes or less in advance. You’ll probably find a seat or two at the bar, or a table somewhere. If it’s an important game, like the one coming up on Saturday (El Clasico, if anyone is interested. Please pray for my sanity.) I suggest at least an hour in advance. It gives you time to scope out the people and to score a good seat. Nothing sucks more than missing a goal because you’re too short to see above someone’s head. If you’re going with a large group, I suggest you call the bar and find out what they suggest. Large groups are harder to seat if they come in last minute, so always plan ahead.

So now you’re at the bar, what can you expect? Trolls. Lots and lots of trolls will come out of the woodwork. Usually it’s the neutrals that are there to watch the game. Don’t worry about it, ignoring them works fine. If you’re more like me, you’ll have a few comebacks for them. I enjoy the atmosphere of the bar. It’s always nice to have a nice group chant or sing-along back and forth with the other fans. I do always make sure to set boundaries. If I hear anyone make a sexist, racist, or homophobic joke, I ask them to stop, no matter what team they support. That kind of banter has no place. Usually people are respectful. If they’re not, just go back to ignoring them. Sometimes, you’ll get a rude asshole asking you if you really support the team or if you’re just watching for the “hot players.” The best way to deal with this is ask them if he would have asked you that if you had a penis. Usually they’ll get uncomfortable when they’re called out on their “subtle” sexism. You don’t have to justify why you watch the sport to them. Of course, if you feel like putting them in their place you can always quiz them or ask them their opinion on something related to your team. Usually they won’t know what to do and will walk away or want to buy you a beer. Win-win if you ask me.

The most important thing to remember when you’re at the sports bar is to have fun! At the end of the day, you’re there to enjoy the camaraderie and to knock back a few beers. Enjoy watching your team hopefully beat the opponent and enjoy some great company. Who knows, maybe it’ll turn into a match day ritual. Let me know if you guys are ever in the NYC area and want to go watch a La Liga game with me. I’ll buy the first round.

Have you guys been to a sports bar before? What was your experience?

By Jazmin

20-something internet fiend. Usually perusing the internet to fuel my fangirl life while simultaneously trying to figure out how to save the world. Working on building a tiny empire of crafty goodness. Ultimate dream is to one day become Lucille Bluth.

17 replies on “Visiting a Sports Bar”

I cannot go to sports bars during big games – because people WON’T FUCKING SHUT THE FUCK UP.  I can’t hear the TV, I can’t hear the whistle, I can’t hear the play by play and inevitably, the friends I’m with will decide that right that second is the best moment to start talking about the new shoes they just bought and someone always picks the wrong moment to stand right in front of the fucking screen!

I don’t fucking care. Unless it’s half-time or a timeout, you should not try to carry on a conversation! Who does that?  SHUT UP!  If you have to take a shit, go during time out! If you absolutely have to get up during the game don’t just fucking stand there in the middle of everything, blocking everyone’s view! Get the hell out of the way!

I’m cussing a lot, aren’t I?  See? This is the what the stress of watching games at sports bars does to me. Plus, I’m an SEC football fan and a Kentucky basketball fan (Number 8 Is Great, thankyouverymuch #GoBigBlue #WeAreUK) and at a sports bar, somebody’s getting their ass kicked.

No, I need to be at home. Alone. With no one jabbering in my ear and nothing between me and the TV and no one telling me to shut up when I yell at the refs for calling ANOTHER charge that was obviously a fucking blocking foul . . .

Otherwise, yea, sports bars are great.


I LOVE going to bars for games.  In fact, during the 2010 hockey playoffs (when my team WON THE STANLEY CUP, hell yes!)  I didn’t have access to TV in my home, so I literally went to sports bars for every single game.  My bar was usually pretty empty, but since it was the playoffs, there were often one or two fans sitting around at the least (way more for weekend games/series decider games,) and my favorite bartender was a big fan too, so if nothing else we could always talk about the game.  Unfortunately, going to a bar for two months worth of every other day hockey gets really expensive.  I watch most games at home now, but if the mood strikes me (and at least once per series in the playoffs) I try to go to a bar just for the group experience.  I’m in fact watching tomorrow night’s game at a bar, and I’m really excited – it’s the first playoff game I’m getting to watch at a bar.

I also had a blast during the last world cup taking my lunch break in two increments, and running down to the pub for the last 20-25 of the morning game, and the last 20-25 of the afternoon game.  Only time in my life I’ve ever seen so many Chicago Loop businessmen drinking beer at 10 a.m., it was a BLAST.

Haha, you mean a Gwen and Mona meet-up?  Not sure I’ve heard anyone else chime in…on the other hand, Hawks fans come out of the woodwork sometime.  I love the idea though!  Fair warning though, I am car-less, so I am glued to easy public transit options.

We should do it!  Although it might be a tight call to try and plan for a game during this series…hmm…

There are lots of good sports bars in the south loop or west loop areas, those would be pretty accessible from the downtown Metra stations (which station would you come in to?) that we could check out.  I mean, I haven’t actually BEEN to most of them, but I’ve heard good things!

I always figured I would love working at a sports bar, because I love sports and talking about sports (except football…meh to football.  Except the Bears.)  But then I started working at a bar-that-showed-sports (not quite a sports bar, but like so many bars in Chicago, kind of in between.)  After the first couple shifts working during hockey games, I realized that working at a sports bar is not for me, because I can’t stand not being able to sit down and pay attention to the game, and I hate missing big plays.  So…you might have been better off there as a non-sports fan.

I love sports bars during the Stanley Cup playoffs (go Hawks!). I prefer a sports bar cuz I’m an awkward pants and never know how to dress or act in a reg bar. And discussing Hossa is a great convo starter.

Mr Mona and I also frequented many a sports bar during the last World Cup. And he goes almost every Sunday during the Mexican soccer league season to watch his beloved Pumas here in Chicago since he can’t actually be at the stadium.

Anyways, long story short- the Mona fam likes sports bars.

(and we’ll be both watching el clasico this Saturday- at home though. Gotta get the most use out of our 5 soccer channels)

Sports bars can be awesome! I once went to one with a group of friends on my study abroad trip to China during the FIFA World Cup a couple years ago. I don’t usually get into sports, but it was really fun to get to watch in that environment. We all rooted for the US team. Loudly and vociferously!

Leave a Reply